Ledelseskommunikation - en diskursanalyse af ledelsesrummet i en offentlig organisation

Kent Michelsen

Studenteropgave: Masterprojekt


The public sector has gone through a series of modernization processes and reforms since the late 1980s. New public management models have suggested that public sector managers can learn from the experience of private sector management and there has been an attempt to change the focus away from the exercise of administrative discretion and the administration of rules and formal processes, towards an emphasis on economic goals, competition, entrepreneurship and the achievement of results. As a means to an end, human resource management has had a major influence on the theory and practice of public administration. The purpose of human resource management is to help an organization to meet strategic goals by managing employees effectively. The model involves an internal focus in which training and development of personal competencies are utilized to achieve cohesion and employee morale. The modernization processes has led to a new understanding of public management and public management communication in which core public values and professional logic are being challenged. Managerial authority seems no longer established in advance, since it is neither uniquely linked to government or municipal council, to market orientation, or personnel policy that might justify its authority. As a consequence, public management communication seems to be articulated from within several different rationalities, reasoning and disposal options. The purpose of the thesis is to empirically investigate public management communication in terms of modernization processes. The thesis provides a detailed analysis of some leading concepts and articulations of public management and seeks to investigate how management is being articulated and constructed within a concrete public organisation. Finally, the thesis seeks to investigate the consequences of the construction of management for the personnel. The thesis aims to apply the discourse theory of Laclau & Mouffe and Foucault’s analysis of power, and offers a joined model of analysis to apply in a concrete empirical study. Among this model, central concepts of discourse, hegemony and power are explained and applied on both text analysis and interviews. The thesis first investigates dislocations in the public sector and seeks to identify the logic of equivalence in which the rearticulating of management seeks to create a new order. It then continues to investigate which management technologies are required and used in order to comply with the modernization process. This raises a question regarding the legitimacy of both managers and employee’s actions and which competencies that is required. Finally the thesis analyses and discusses how power and subjectivity are configured in discursive and social practices. From the perspective of Foucault, human resource management can be conceptualized as a medium through which the employment relationship is organized or disciplined through examination and confession. The employee is not just to do her duty, but has to put all of her soul and commitment in the role of employee, and reflect on ways to improve and develop her competencies. The thesis is questioning the logic and ethics in which competencies are seen as something the employee has in her-self. By doing so, common organizational challenges and problems are easily being turned into individual competence problems. The essence of new public management is a presumption that by focusing on the »recipient« that is the »customers« or »clients’« 'presumed needs' there will be an organizational effectiveness, democratization and an improvement of the public service. The ideology can be viewed as a way to restore the confidence in public organizations, but is at the same time turning the public sector into a low-trust system, centred on planning, coordination and control. Management communication is therefore about making the management's goals visible and understandable to those who need to help meeting the targets.

UddannelserMaster i Professionel Kommunikation (MPK), (Masteruddannelse) Master
Udgivelsesdato29 maj 2010


  • Laclau & Mouffe
  • Ledelseskommunikation
  • Diskursanalyse
  • Foucault